The power of the dollar is often touted but rarely exercised. Everyone has the power to move markets through the money we spend. If we make informed decisions when we purchase goods and services then we can tell companies that we approve or disapprove of their practices through our dollars. We are lucky enough to live in era of plentiful choices when we go shopping, so we can make our conscious purchases without feeling limited, whether we are just buying groceries, shopping for back-to-school, or even purchasing our regular toiletries and basic necessities. Here are 3 simple tips that can help us become more conscious consumers.
- Notice the packaging – When shopping for produce, sometimes there is excessive plastic used for packaging. For example, you may see a plastic box of apples and a plastic bag of apples. The plastic bag will add less waste to our landfills and is therefore a more environmentally friendly choice. Then again, many grocery stores do sell apples individually and you can even bring your own reusable bag, an even more conscious choice! Same thing goes with any food product. If snacks are individually wrapped per serving size, there will be more waste, and if you buy the family size of said snacks, you may add even less garbage to our landfills. Before buying something, look at the packaging and find the least wasteful and least environmentally damaging option.
- Read the entire label and research the brand- Read all tags and all labels, and when you’re reading a label, don’t just read the front, read the back of the package and the fine print. If you’re not sure about something, pull out your handy lil’ cell phone device and do a quick google search. This can be done while you’re out in the store shopping. If there is a brand you’re not familiar with, look it up and see what its all about. When googling brands, don’t just read the brands website because sometimes some companies can use tricky wording to confuse the consumer. Read reviews from other conscious consumers before you decide to fork over your hard earned money. The last thing you want to do is support practices that you do not agree with (like child labor, or animal testing). Another idea is to buy from local sources which not only supports your community, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
- Have a list, and stick to the list – Sometimes we can get carried away when we see sales, or if we shop when we are hungry. Be prepared when you enter a store so that you do not purchase something that you don’t need. There’s nothing worse than buying too much food that you wont be able to finish in time and next thing you know, you have moldy food in the fridge, basically throwing your money straight into the trash. Or buying a clothing item that is on sale or “looks really cute on the mannequin” and three years later that dress is hanging in the closet with the tag still on it, never worn once (sometimes we learn the hard way).
There are many other ways we can be more mindful with our spending, but these tips will start you off in the right direction. Don’t worry about being “perfect” and don’t beat yourself up if you buy something on a whim. The idea is to start a trend in the right direction so that companies know that consumers are becoming more savvy about how they consume. Are there any other ways you like to be conscious when you make purchases? Leave a comment and let me know:)
Make sure to check out my other mindful Monday posts.